Date
11 December 2017
This is the salute from the Hunger Games movie that has become a protest symbol against Thai military rule. Photo: Time.com
This is the salute from the Hunger Games movie that has become a protest symbol against Thai military rule. Photo: Time.com

Thai protest salute: Life imitates art

It’s sometime in the future.

People are rising up against a totalitarian regime, united in their struggle by a powerful sign of protest — the three-finger salute. Authorities crack down, protesters are dragged away but the city is nowhere near peaceful. The resistance has merely gone underground.

No, this is not about District 12 and the events are eerily similar but more dramatic than Hunger Games, the blockbuster Hollywood movie.

It’s today, ín Thailand, and the characters are real people rebelling against a military junta. The District 12-style salute has come to symbolize their opposition to the nascent military dictatorship.

It’s a silent act of rebellion but that has not stopped Thailand’s military authorities from cracking down on the protesters who flash the three-finger salute. They’re being threatened with arrests if they ignore warnings to stop, according to the Associated Press. 

“Raising three fingers has become a symbol in calling for fundamental political rights,” says anti-coup activist Sombat Boonngam-anong in a Facebook post.

People are joining small flash mobs or going it alone in dramatizing the protest symbol which the Thai military has described as a new form of opposition.

In the Hunger Games franchise, the salute symbolises rebellion against a totalitarian rule and signifies gratitude, admiration and goodbye to a loved one.

The movie has been shown in Thailand to some success but it took a real-life drama for the people to embrace it.

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